It's hard being the favorite, Wheaton North's Paul Steeno said, because everyone wants to beat you.
Steeno and the Falcons had better get used to it.
He was among five individual winners for Wheaton North, which scored in all 15 events and double-scored in six to handily capture the DuPage Valley Conference boys indoor track meet Friday at magnificent Al B. Carius Track on the campus of North Central College in Naperville.
"We have a very balanced team," said Steeno, whose indoor-best time of 4 minutes, 24.86 seconds in the 1,600-meter run put him ahead of Wheaton Warrenville South's Derek Andersen and West Aurora's Josh Robinson.
"We get points in almost every event," Steeno said. "In the distance events -- 800, 1,600 and 3,200 -- we have guys that can get first in any of those races, Alex Ryan, Aidan Askin and myself. And then our four-by-800 team is good, too. And then our sprint guys are great, too."
Field events were no slouch either. Christian Hollinger and Mac Spaulding went 1-2 in shot put, and Zac Daniels won the triple jump at 42 feet, 11 inches.
Marcus Charles added a 200 dash victory to help the Falcons claim first with 143 points, ahead of West Aurora (82), WW South (74) and Naperville Central (66).
Glenbard East was in the mix, the Rams' fifth-place tally of 58 points paced by two-event winner Antwon James. The senior first leapt 22-3½ feet to win long jump and returned to edge WW South's Dan Vitale in the 55 dash at 6.5 seconds.
James has trained extensively to increase his explosion out of the blocks and incorporates a unique technique that helps him zone in.
"When I start off I actually close my eyes so that I won't jump if anybody flinches on the line," he said.
Defending indoor DVC champ WW South earned individual titles by Alec Brazeau in high jump and Phabian Clark in the 55 hurdles. Also, by sophomore Nolan McKenna, who bested a 3,200 field including West Aurora's Omar Gomez, Naperville North's Sam Cerutti and Wheaton North's Askin and Sam Hoffman, who in the 2011 race left on a stretcher after collapsing with complications from mononucleosis.
Hoffman was fine on Friday, but McKenna ran faster to win in 9:36.48.
"I was just trying to stick on the front guy and just stay as close as possible," said McKenna, who won the frosh/soph 3,200 last year. "Then something just clicked with two and a half laps to go and I just went."
Constantly improving Naperville Central won both the 800 and 1,600 relays, Brad Kouchoukos anchoring both. Sam Bransby ran in the latter and also won the open 400 by securing an early lead over Wheaton North's Brett Kohler and Micaiah Steele.
"I can hold people off," Bransby said, "but catching up to someone on a 200-meter track is near impossible."
His Redhawks teammate Mike Juretschke won pole vault at 13-9, above a crowd at 13-3 including Naperville North's Nick Lyon, a 150-pounder catapulted by his 160-test pole.
"It was a lot of fun. It was great competition," Lyons said.
Glenbard North, featuring jumper Troy Jackson and shot putter Mitch Siver, placed seventh with 10 points. West Chicago earned a point in the 1,600 relay.
West Aurora had a big night by Parrish McGhee, third in the 200, second in long jump. He also ran on a first-place 800 relay that included speedster Marquette Sanchez, Tony Oros and Benny Prunty, whose 22.8-second split time made up a 10-meter gap on Wheaton North's Nehemiah Heckler. The two sprinters ended up in a tangle on the track past the finish line.
"I had to dive for it," Prunty said after shaking the hand of each Falcons runner. "I thought he was going to beat me, I had to finish."